A prayer especially for graduates:
You have been told for four years,
that you’re the best and the brightest.
You’ve been told countless times that "the world’s troubles are your troubles."
And if - by the end of this weekend -
you can count the number of times you've been told to,
"Go out and change the world,"
I'll be surprised.
But I might humbly suggest,
in the midst of the whirlwind that is this weekend,
that you take a moment to Pause,
and let your blessings catch up with you.*
That you take a moment to notice,
that family and friends, loved ones, teachers and mentors,
are all here, in this moment, in the same place.
Take a moment to notice that you would not be here without them.
Take a moment to be grateful.
Grateful, for them,
and for those who cannot be with us.
Grateful for the gift of education.
And, if you’re so inclined, grateful to God -
the source of life and learning.
And may you go from this place, knowing that you are indeed smart and talented.
But fear not, for you’re not that smart.
And you’re certainly not yet wise.
So may you go, open to much more learning to come.
And may you go, surely, fired up to help make the world a little better.
But go also knowing that you have limits.
and that you need to sleep.
But most of all, may you go from this place in the spirit of gratitude.
Knowing that you are lucky. And blessed.
And may you go, thus hoping, that you might be a blessing to those around you.
And as you go, may God bless you and keep you.
May God's face shine on you and be gracious to you.
May God look upon you with favor and grant you peace.
*Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said something like this line at a conference I attended at Emory University, October 2010. I can't find the text, but the inspiration comes from him.